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Am J Bot. 2006 Apr;93(4):607-19. doi: 10.3732/ajb.93.4.607.

Brassicaceae phylogeny and trichome evolution.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1 University Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121 USA;


To estimate the evolutionary history of the mustard family (Brassicaceae or Cruciferae), we sampled 113 species, representing 101 of the roughly 350 genera and 17 of the 19 tribes of the family, for the chloroplast gene ndhF. The included accessions increase the number of genera sampled over previous phylogenetic studies by four-fold. Using parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian methods, we reconstructed the phylogeny of the gene and used the Shimodaira-Hasegawa test (S-H test) to compare the phylogenetic results with the most recent tribal classification for the family. The resultant phylogeny allowed a critical assessment of variations in fruit morphology and seed anatomy, upon which the current classification is based. We also used the S-H test to examine the utility of trichome branching patterns for describing monophyletic groups in the ndhF phylogeny. Our phylogenetic results indicate that 97 of 114 ingroup accessions fall into one of 21 strongly supported clades. Some of these clades can themselves be grouped into strongly to moderately supported monophyletic groups. One of these lineages is a novel grouping overlooked in previous phylogenetic studies. Results comparing 30 different scenarios of evolution by the S-H test indicate that five of 12 tribes represented by two or more genera in the study are clearly polyphyletic, although a few tribes are not sampled well enough to establish para- or polyphyly. In addition, branched trichomes likely evolved independently several times in the Brassicaceae, although malpighiaceous and stellate trichomes may each have a single origin.

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